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Does the European Union’s defense undermine Italian interests?

What emerges from the draft strategic compass in the field of defense and security in the European Union. Facts, rumors and comments

Is the European Union’s defense torpedoed Italian interests?

The European Commission will present the Strategic Compass on Wednesday. This is the foreseeable document that aims to define a common strategic direction for the European Union in the security and defense sectors.

The initial question arises automatically in the light of that day Corriere della Sera He says, “The draft talks about the Indo-Pacific region, a region that France insisted on. For Italy to start from that region seems a bit simple, it would be better to start from the expanded Mediterranean.” Also emphasized indiscretion Bloomberg: “The strategy will see the expansion of the naval presence in areas of interest, starting with the Indo-Pacific.”

Also, always Courier service Reports indicate that “the United States and Canada appear on bilateral partnerships but Great Britain has disappeared, with which our country associates joint defense projects, including the construction of fighters.” This is the program for the future air combat system, Tempest.

Started He spoke about it with a subject matter expert who asked not to be identified: “It is not clear why the Strategic Compass should view the Indo-Pacific as a priority,” the expert asserts. But on the UK’s exclusion from partnerships, he doesn’t think that would really be the case.

Italy’s mission in the defense of the European Union

“It is necessary to defend Italian interests in European defense, the problem is that we cannot expect European defense to protect Italian interests, it is we who must protect our interests in European defense,” commented the defense, security and geopolitics analyst: “EU defense is something It is built together between the European countries participating in the Pesco Initiative. It is not that others impose their positions on us. Positions are reached through discussion and cooperation. If we want to protect our interests, we must know what those interests are and move them forward with resolve.”

strategic compass

First of all, it must be remembered that “The Strategic Compass was created to give a common direction to European countries on how to move forward in building a Europe of defence. By definition it is a path undertaken on a voluntary basis. It is something that goes beyond the obligations arising from EU membership and is part of That large area where progress can be made between European countries on a voluntary basis. We must agree,” emphasizes the expert, who requested anonymity.

Rome’s faults (former)

“We should have acted with greater determination in the past, and had greater strategic clarity about what our interests are,” the analyst notes.

What are our interests

As explained by Started Our interests are to advance the process of European integration as one of the pillars of the Atlantic Alliance. So by definition, we have a vision that leads us to always strengthen European capabilities within the framework of transatlantic cooperation. If it does not, then it is clear that the proposal put forward cannot win the approval of the Italian side. For us, this is a must in our strategy, not something optional.”

The flaw of the European Commission’s Strategic Compass project

The expert criticizes what is now emerging from the documents of the Strategic Compass as a vision that is “too conditioned to highlight the construction of Europe in a way that is independent and separate from NATO.”

The importance of transatlantic cooperation

Currently, the things wrong with the strategy compass (from the drafts that circulate at least) are two things according to the expert. The first is a “not clear enough identification of the importance of transatlantic cooperation even in the context of strengthening European capabilities. Transatlantic cooperation cannot be something that comes after or separate from strengthening European capabilities.”

The geographical position of the European Union

“The second aspect relates to the geostrategic and geopolitical position of the European Union,” says analyst A Started: “Since when is our focus on the Indo-Pacific region? The European focus is by definition on the enlarged Mediterranean. This is our history and the strategic reality we are entering into, as well as analyzing the risks we are exposed to. The risks and threats to the European Union come from the southern front , and from the so-called enlarged Mediterranean, and with some differences, from the eastern front (the Balkans).So our interest, albeit in a different way (on the eastern front we have not so much problems of instability of political systems as the problem of confrontation with Russia, while on the southern front We also have a problem of great instability for many countries (the current regimes), on these two fronts are the reference for every credible European strategy.”

To our allies in the Indo-Pacific and America

In fact, “this expansion in the Indo-Pacific also contradicts what our American allies are explicitly asking of us” emphasizes the expert. “Because of their geostrategic position, the United States is strongly anticipating the peaceful region and gradually focusing its attention there. At the same time, they reduce the interest in the Mediterranean region and expect that in this task they can be replaced by the European Union, which should have greater capabilities than it is It is today. In this case, American strategic interests in aligning the tasks between one side of the Atlantic and the other parallel to the European side, we are walking on the same goal: We Europeans have an interest in strengthening the enlarged Mediterranean. And the Americans aim not to care about this region. Because they focus on the peaceful sphere.”

about the UK?

According to our commentator, “We all know that after Brexit, we have not been able to determine what should be a cooperation strategy between EU countries and the UK because of London. It is likely that with the Brexit problem persisting, the UK does not want to Make a deal with the European Union in this way.In fact, it would be like the European Union recognizing this value from a military strategic point of view that the Kingdom had not even recognized before when it was part of it.Since the beginning of its participation in the European Community (later the European Union), The UK has always held back from the EU’s ambitions to give itself a military connotation. It would be strange if London would now agree to enter into an agreement between the EU and the UK in the area of ​​security and defense policy.”

So “I would expect the UK to aim for an agreement with some of the member states, those countries that are most active in the area of ​​security and defense policy. They could be the same agreements, but they are done individually with individual countries. What is certain is that neither the UK nor EU countries have the slightest intention of isolating the UK and giving up the military, industrial and technological capabilities that the UK could provide in joint programmes.”

Italy doesn’t just look at the UK

The expert concludes by noting that “there are military cooperation programs linking France and the United Kingdom, other programs linking Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (Eurofighter), and other programs linking Italy and the United Kingdom (Tempest). It is not that only Italy suffers from relations problems. With the UK. From an industrial point of view, it is true that Leonardo is particularly active and present, but there is also largely the French company Thales.The joint European missile company, in which Italy and France Mbda participate, owns a third of its business in the UK. Relations are strong from a military point of view and industrial.”

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